Much of the material in this book is about death, but its real subject is life - the living behavior of thousands of largely anonymous Philadelphians between 1839 and 1901. The only remaining record of many of these people is the final entry: perhaps a story in the paper, more likely a brief notation by some agent of the state about the way in which they died. The manner of dying is, however, a reflection of the manner of living, and these largely unexplored records provide a great deal of information about the changing conditions of ordinary life. Roger Lane uses them to reexamine the links between growth and disorder or violence, two concerns that have dominated the traditional history and sociology of American cities in the nineteenth century. Violent Death in the City was first published in 1979. Lane has written a new bibliographic essay for this edition, citing significant work published since then. David R. Johnson provides a foreword underscoring the importance of Lane's work.